Antique Rug and Tapestry Symbols: Cupids or Cherubs
What are Cupids and Cherubs?
Cupids and cherubs are iconic angelic childlike beings that traditionally are known as symbols of romantic love.
Cupids are motifs commonly used in Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo European art. When used as a putto, the reference was to Aphrodite, Greek mythology, and romantic love. When used as a cherub, the reference was to heavenly beings and angels, implying peace, innocence and leisure.
Cupids have always been viewed as positive beings. That said, the cupids are also famous for having quite the mischievous side as well.
All in all, Cherubs are probably most well known for symbolizing love and purity.
What is the history of the word “Cherub”?
The English word “cherub” traces its origins to the Hebrew term “kĕrūv” (כְּרוּב), found in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew word itself is believed to have been borrowed from an earlier Akkadian word “karūbu,” which referred to a particular type of mythical creature.
The Akkadian term “karūbu” can be traced back to Sumerian, an even more ancient language of Mesopotamia. In Sumerian, the term “karūbu” or “kuribu” denoted a protective deity or spirit. These Sumerian kuribu figures were often depicted as hybrid creatures with the body of a bull or a lion and wings.
As the concept of cherubim spread to other cultures and religions, the Hebrew term “kĕrūv” began to encompass similar angelic beings in various ancient Near Eastern civilizations. This expanded notion of cherubim, influenced by cultural exchanges and religious syncretism, led to different depictions and interpretations of these beings in different regions.
The Hebrew word “kĕrūv” appears multiple times in the Bible, typically referring to angelic beings associated with the presence of God. In biblical texts, cherubim are described as having multiple faces, wings, and serving as guardians of sacred spaces.
The term “cherub” entered the English language in the 14th century, derived from the Old French word “cherubin,” which itself came from the Latin “cherub,” and ultimately from the Greek “kerub.”
So, the etymology of “cherub” traces back to the Hebrew “kĕrūv,” which was influenced by earlier Akkadian and Sumerian terms, representing the concept of angelic beings or protective spirits in ancient Near Eastern cultures.
What is the history of the word “Cupid”?
The word “Cupid” has its roots in ancient Roman mythology and has a fascinating history. Cupid is primarily associated with love and desire and is often depicted as a mischievous winged child with a bow and arrows.
The name “Cupid” is derived from the Latin word “cupido,” which means “desire” or “passion.” In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war. He was known as the god of love and desire and was believed to have the power to make people fall in love by shooting them with his arrows.
The ancient Romans identified Cupid with the Greek god Eros, who also represented love and desire. The Greek word for love, “eros,” has its roots in the Greek verb “erein,” which means “to desire.” The concept of Eros as the god of love and desire dates back to ancient Greek mythology.
The portrayal of Cupid as a winged child with a bow and arrows can be traced back to classical art and literature. The association of Cupid with arrows is symbolic of his ability to influence and arouse desire in others.
The word “Cupid” entered the English language in the 14th century, borrowed directly from Latin. It has since been used to refer to the Roman god of love and, more broadly, as a personification of romantic love and desire.
Today, “Cupid” is commonly recognized as a symbol of love and is often depicted during Valentine’s Day celebrations and in various forms of art and literature exploring the theme of romantic love.
In summary, the word “Cupid” has its origins in ancient Roman mythology and is derived from the Latin word “cupido,” meaning “desire” or “passion.” It represents the Roman god of love and desire and is associated with the Greek god Eros.
What are cupids are cherubs?
Cherubs and / or cupids are artistic representations of young angelic looking creatures. Today, the image evoked by both the word cherub and the word Cupid is that of a young, childlike chubby male with angel wings.
Are Cupids and Cherubs the same thing?
While similar images come to mind when thinking of both cherubs and Cupid, they are not the same thing.
Cupid is a mythological being that is associated with romantic love. He is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Eros. His parentage is somewhat up for debate, but traditionally, he is depicted as the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Depending upon the version of the Cupid story you read, his father was either Mars, the Roman god of war or Mercury, the messenger of the Roman gods.
Originally, Cupid was depicted as a young man. Over time, his image has been changed.. During the time of the Renaissance, the depiction of Cupid became that of a male baby or toddler. He became chubbier and younger. He is depicted with wings and a bow with arrows. The change in Cupid’s appearance can be attributed to the way artists like Raphael depicted him in their artwork.
Like his parentage, the symbolism of Cupid has varied interpretations. Traditionally, Cupid is thought to represent love. Why make him young and playful then? The explanation for that choice seems to be that love, like a mischievous boy, can be unpredictable.
Most people know the story of Cupid shooting an arrow and causing the person to fall madly in love with the next person they see. Some depictions of Cupid feature two kinds of arrows–one golden tipped and one lead tipped. The golden arrow created that love connection. The lead tipped one, though, guaranteed the person would never fall in love with whomever they saw next
Cherubs are angelic creatures that are mentioned in Biblical references after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Some scholars believe that because the first reference to cherubs is after the fall of Adam and Eve, they represent the innocence that was lost at the fall. Often, cherubs are depicted in garden scenes. They are seen as guardians of the garden. Typically, they have pleasant expressions upon their faces, but they sometimes have a fiercely protective look about them.
Artistic representation of cherubs does not match Biblical references to their appearance. Artistically, cherubs, like Cupid are depicted as chubby baby angels who are mischievous and fun. Biblically, cherubs were multi-winged creatures who were fiercely strong and protective. Artistic cherubs are often depicted as floating on beautiful clouds, while the Biblical depiction has them surrounded by fiery light. Further contrast between Biblical and artistic representation of cherubs is found in the activities in which they engage. Artistically speaking, cherubs are fun-loving creatures who delight people with their mischief. Biblically speaking, cherubs were charged with executing the will of God regardless of the reaction of the people.
Artistically, both Cupids and cherubs have been represented by various artists since the 1400s. Most notably, Renaissance and Baroque artists used the images in a variety of media from sculpture to painted works to frescoes. In the 19th century there was something of a resurgence in art featuring Cupid and cherub images.
Cupid and cherub images have been used on tapestries and rugs as well as in other more traditional artwork. Rugs are often used to add warmth and character to a space. Regardless of the overall design, rugs add an extra touch to any space. Rugs specifically designed with images of Cupid or cherubs fit nicely into a traditional home design. They also are known to fit into a cottage or shabby chic design aesthetic. Personal taste will dictate whether a Cupid or cherub will fit into your design plan.
Are cupids and cherubs good or bad?
In mythology and traditional depictions, Cupids and cherubs are not inherently good or bad. However, their characteristics and roles have varied throughout different cultural and artistic representations.
Cupids, as associated with the Roman god of love and desire, are often depicted as mischievous and playful beings. They are known for shooting their arrows to incite love and passion in others. In this context, Cupids are generally seen as positive and benevolent figures, representing the power of love and romantic attraction.
Cherubs, on the other hand, have different connotations depending on the cultural and artistic interpretations. In ancient Near Eastern and biblical contexts, cherubim were angelic beings associated with the presence of God, serving as guardians or protectors of sacred spaces. They were seen as powerful and awe-inspiring figures.
In Christian art and popular culture, cherubs are often depicted as chubby, childlike figures with wings, symbolizing innocence and angelic qualities. These cherubic depictions have a more whimsical and gentle nature, typically associated with a sense of purity and innocence.
It’s important to note that interpretations and depictions of Cupids and cherubs can vary, and they can be portrayed in different ways depending on the artistic representation, cultural context, and personal interpretation. In general, both Cupids and cherubs are often associated with positive themes such as love, romance, and the divine, rather than being regarded as inherently good or bad entities.
Do cherubs and cupids have any notable powers or abilities?
Cherubs and Cupids, as mythological or symbolic figures, are often attributed with specific powers or abilities in various cultural and artistic representations.
Here are some notable characteristics associated with cupids and cherubs:
- Love Induction: Cupids are commonly believed to have the power to inspire love and desire in others. They are often depicted as shooting arrows at unsuspecting individuals, causing them to fall in love.
- Matchmaking: Cupids are associated with bringing together romantic partners. They are sometimes depicted as celestial matchmakers, influencing the course of love and guiding individuals to their destined partners.
- Desire Manipulation: Cupids are believed to have the ability to manipulate and intensify feelings of desire and passion in people. Their actions are often seen as whimsical and capricious, as they playfully meddle in the affairs of love.
- Guardianship: In biblical and ancient Near Eastern contexts, cherubim were considered as guardians or protectors. They were believed to have a close connection to the divine and were often depicted as guarding sacred spaces or important objects.
- Presence of the Divine: Cherubs are associated with the presence of God or divine beings. They are often depicted in religious art as being in close proximity to the divine presence, symbolizing their role as intermediaries between heaven and earth.
- Symbol of Innocence: In Christian art, cherubs are often portrayed as innocent, childlike figures. They represent purity, grace, and the innocence of the divine. Their presence is often used to evoke a sense of serenity and celestial harmony.
It’s important to note that the specific powers and abilities attributed to Cupids and cherubs can vary across different mythological traditions, artistic interpretations, and cultural contexts. Different depictions may emphasize certain aspects or attributes of these figures, leading to variations in their perceived powers and abilities.